Rescheduling the Indian Premier League (IPL) due to the pandemic has not only resulted in a truncated domestic season but is also bound to hit a majority of teams hard when it comes to preparing for the season, especially for the shortened limited-overs leg.
With the COVID-19 outbreak continuing rise, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is hoping to start the senior domestic season with the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy on November 19, just over a week after the IPL final in United Arab Emirates on November 10.
As a result, domestic teams preparation will be severely affected ahead of the season. Even if you don’t take India regulars, a plethora of State teams are unsure of whether their seniors will be able to participate in the inter-State T20 tournament, since they may be asked to be in quarantine after returning from the IPL.
Defending champion Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Mumbai, Gujarat, Punjab and Saurashtra are set to miss their captain for the preparatory phase. Add to that the absence of some of the performers on the domestic circuit who are being flown to UAE as net bowlers and the domestic teams suffer even more.
In fact, Gujarat and Uttarakhand are going to have to deal with a double blow since their head coach will be away in UAE. Former Test cricketer Sairaj Bahutule, who took over as the Gujarat head coach, is the assistant coach of Rajasthan Royals while former India opener Wasim Jaffer took over as the Kings XI Punjab batting coach and Uttarakhand head coach earlier this year.
“It is going to be challenging but I have been keeping in touch with the cricketers and the assistant coach over video-conferencing and will continue to do so from UAE. Since it usually rains in Dehradun much longer than most other regions, hopefully the boys can resume outdoor nets soon, pandemic permitting,” Jaffer told Sportstar on Wednesday.
Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) joint secretary Anil Patel said the association has to find a way to deal with the situation. “No doubt the captain and the coach being away is not ideal but these are unprecedented times on all fronts,” Patel said. “We had a coaches’ virtual dialogue recently and this will have to be the modus operandi till Parthiv and the coach join the team after the IPL. The other assistant coaches and senior players will have to take the additional responsibility till the seniors join.”
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